Mathematical Thinking & Visualization

On this page: Major Description | Requirements | Learning Objectives

The Mathematical Thinking & Visualization Major

MTV draws on mathematics, statistics, and visual studies to develop new practices and tools for discovering, analyzing, and representing data. The major allows students to link mathematical thinking – the ability to recognize mathematical forms in relation to real-world phenomena – and data and information visualization – the ability to communicate and think about data in visualized form across contexts.

Career Focus

Students graduating with an MTV major may enter into the wide variety of fields focused on data analysis and visualization, including statistics, visual analytics, and geographic information systems and sciences.

More information about career possibilities or pursuing graduate school.

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MTV Major Requirements

Recommended Preparation

Interested in exploring this major, but not ready to commit? Consider taking one of the below courses! Any of these selections will help familiarize you with the academic program and prepare you for advanced coursework in the major.

  • CSS 107 Introduction to Programming through Animated Storytelling       
  • CSS 142 Computer Programming I
  • CSS 143 Computer Programming II
  • B IMD 250 Introduction to Interaction Design
  • STMATH 125 Calculus II 


In addition to the general admission requirements, students must have completed the following prerequisites to be considered for admission to the Bachelor of Arts in Mathematical Thinking & Visualization:

  • one quarter of calculus (min 2.0 grade)
  • One quarter of statistics (BIS 215 Understanding Statistics, STAT 220 Principles of Statistical Reasoning or equivalent) is strongly recommended before applying to the major. One quarter of statistics (with a min. 2.0 grade) will become a major prerequisite beginning Autumn quarter 2022. 

Students can complete these regularly taught courses at UW Bothell or at another institution. These courses provide underpinnings of the quantitative models and essential mathematical ideas.

Degree Requirements

  • BIS 300 Interdisciplinary Inquiry*- min. 2.0 grade (5 credits)
  • BIS 232 Visualizing Quantitative Data (5 credits)
  • BIS 231 Linear Algebra (5 credits)
  • Understanding Art Forms (5 credits) (MTV: ART)
    Student will choose one course that allows them to explore visual art forms or design as a means to communicate information to an audience.
    5 credits required from the below list:

    • BIS 233 Participatory Media Culture
    • BIS 236 Introduction to Interactive Media
    • BISIA 250 Photography as Art
    • BIS 319 Public Arts and Ecological Restoration
    • BISIA 319 Interdisciplinary Arts
    • BISIA 342 Materials and Meanings
    • BISIA 350 Photography and Digital Art
    • BIS 372 Representation, Colonialism, and the Tropical World
    • BIS 385 Art and Climate Change
  • Mathematical Reasoning Courses (10 credits) (MTV:MR
    Students will choose at least two courses that will help them develop the mathematical tools gained in their prerequisite and core courses. This list will evolve as curricula across UWB change; courses in this category explicitly study mathematical principles. That emphasis is manifest in their readings, assignments, and evaluation. This criterion does not exclude courses with substantial application, but a student finishing a course in this category should be able to reflect critically on the mathematical principles learned, in a way that aids their thoughtful application elsewhere.
    ​10 credits required from the below list:
    • BIS 302 Issues in Mathematics Across Cultures
    • BIS 329 Topics in Mathematics Across the Curriculum
    • BIS 447 Topics in Quantitative Inquiry
    • CSS 107 Intro to Programming through Animated Storytelling
    • CSS 142 Computer Programming I
    • CSS 143 Computer Programming II 
    • STMATH 125 Calculus II
    • STMATH 126 Calculus III
    • STMATH 300 Foundations of Modern Mathematics
    • STMATH 310 Mathematical Game Theory

  • Visualization Practice and Methods Courses (MTV:VPM) (10 credits)
    Students will choose at least two courses that extend their capacities in visualization and communication. Visualization practices and methods may include modeling and tools for exploring and examining data sets. It includes interactive presentation through the simultaneous display of multimedia data such as numbers, words, and images, and informal modes of communication, along with polished presentations to specific audiences. Courses in this category develop means of representing, and critically examining data and arguments.
    10 credits required from the list below:
    • BEARTH 201 Mapping the Earth System
    • BES 440 Remote Sensing of the Environment
    • BIS 218 The Power of Maps
    • BIS 342 Geographic Information Systems
    • BIS 343 Geographic Visualization
    • BIS 344 Intermediate Geographic Analysis and Applications
    • BIS 352 Mapping Communities
    • BIS 382 The Visual Art of Biology
    • BIS 442 Advanced GIS Analysis and Applications
    • BISMCS 473 Visual Communication
    • B IMD 233 Fundamentals of Web Media Technology
    • B IMD 250 Intro to Interaction Design
  • Mathematical Reasoning Course OR Visualization Practice and Methods Course (5 credits)
  • BIS 499 Portfolio Capstone - min. 2.5 grade (5 credits)
  • Additional IAS Coursework (20 credits)

TOTAL = 70 Credits

*Should be taken in the first quarter of IAS enrollment.

Note: Classes in this major will be offered primarily during day-time hours.

Sample Plan

View a sample course plan.

School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (IAS) Requirements & Policies

Interdisciplinary Practice & Reflection (IPR)

The IPR requirement can be completed through elective credits or it can overlap with major coursework.

Areas of Knowledge

25 credits must be completed in each Area of Knowledge. The Areas of Knowledge are: Visual, Literary and Performing Arts (VLPA), Individuals and Societies (I&S), and Natural World (NW).

Multiply-designated courses may not be double-counted as fulfilling two Areas of Knowledge. Courses may apply to both an Area of Knowledge requirement and an LEPP major requirement.

Upper Division Credit Policy

Of the credits applying to MTV major requirements, a minimum of 48 must be completed at the Upper Division (300-400) level.

Matriculated status

Courses taken to satisfy MTV major requirements must be completed in matriculated status.

Admitted prior to Autumn Quarter, 2020?

Students admitted to the MTV major prior to Autumn 2020 may be eligible to complete a retired set of major requirements. For more information, please check with your major advisor.

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Learning objectives

In addition to major-specific learning objectives, undergraduate students in all majors within Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (IAS) focus on five core learning objectives.

MTV Learning Objectives

  • Acquire critical competence in different ways to address real-world, quantitative concerns and to find solutions that are both efficient and equitable.
  • Learn to apply statistical and mathematical tools and critique their applications, including building and evaluating arguments based on quantitative data.
  • Generate reliable data and choose appropriate methods to apply to a given data set.
  • Gain experience creating visual representations of problems and data, and communicate these ideas, results, and analyses in multiple formats.
  • Learn to work in interdisciplinary teams to communicate and to understand a range of issues, especially those around social and planetary justice, that have quantitative underpinnings.  
  • Synthesize quantitative research with other ways of knowing.

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